H2 solve problems :wrong think


Solve a Problem: Think About Worst Possible Solution

Leadership Tip of the Week #77

Adapapted from HBR

If you need to come up with a new idea, stop trying to think of the best one.

Instead, imagine the worst idea possible:

  1. What would be the wrong way to solve this problem?
  2. What do our customers absolutely not want?
  3. How could we make all of our stakeholders angry?

Try to come up with ideas that would get you laughed at (or maybe even fired), and then work backward from there to find new ways of solving the problem.

This process, called “wrong thinking” or “reverse thinking,” isn’t always easy to do. You can start by trying to see the problem as a beginner would. What would someone who knows nothing about the context suggest?

When you give yourself permission to have bad ideas, you often come up with the best ones.

Adapted from “To Come Up with a Good Idea, Start by Imagining the Worst Idea Possible,” by Ayse Birsel

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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